Football must reform after Bury demise

The FSA has long campaigned for reforms in the way football is regulated in order to avoid the shocking scenario which has played out at Bury, and that which is happening at Bolton Wanderers.

The current system, whereby the decisions on the conduct of owners and directors are taken by the owners and directors of other clubs, is a massive conflict of interests and is simply not working. Bad owners need rooting out. We need stronger regulations and increased transparency to prevent further insolvencies and to protect our clubs who should be afforded levels of protection in keeping with listed buildings or conservation areas.

ACTION FOR FANS: Contact your club and ask them to give their backing to the attached proposals at upcoming league meetings / AGMs.

A summary of the FSA regulatory reform proposals are as follows:

  • Engagement with supporters is key to ensuring transparency and good governance, and they should be involved at a local and national level.
  • Regulatory responsibilities should be undertaken by an independent body under the remit of the FA, rather than the individual leagues themselves.
  • A rolling review of club finances should take place, with periodically updated sustainable business plans, to help identify problems before they become insurmountable.
  • A strengthened single owners and directors test, combining the best elements of existing ones at Premier League, EFL and National League level, should be instituted.
  • Each time a significant transfer of ownership (25% or more) of a club takes place, that person should be required to pass the test, and directors of clubs should be required to demonstrate they have the necessary skills and experience for the role.
  • There should be an absolute prohibition on offering club property as security unless in connection with a capital expenditure project, such as a new stand or training facility.
  • There should also be a prohibition on moving a club out of the area with which it is traditionally associated.

Football has failed to self-regulate, has failed the supporters of Bury, and is failing fans at other clubs where owners are putting their future at risk. If the game is unable to reform itself we will be forced to call on the Government to legislate to ensure that such a situation can never be repeated.

Michael Brunskill, FSA, Director of communications

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